As you know, the latest SA Under 20 training squad has been named and the Sharks have six representatives in the team. Let’s have a look at the guys that have made the cut and get to know them a little better.
The Sharks are well represented in the front row, with two props and a hooker in the mix. Dale Chadwick is a born-and-bred KZN loosehead, having played schools rugby for Natal at both under 16 and under 18 level. A product of Westville Boys High, the 105kg 19-year-old also played for the South African schools team in 2007. Currently with the Sharks Academy, Chadwick represented the Sharks at Under 19 level last year and was vice captain of the side that clinched the ABSA Under 19 trophy.
Julian Redelinghuys was on the other side of the scrum for the SA Schools team in 2007, although at that stage he was still at school at Monument Hoër on the West Rand of Johannesburg. Born in Pretoria, the young tighthead moved to Johannesburg soon after and boasts an impressive age-group pedigree, having represented the Lions at all level from under 12 all the way up to Craven week (both in 2006 and 2007). The Lions’ loss (as usual) was the Sharks’ gain as Redelinghuys was snapped up by the Sharks Academy last year. He played alongside Chadwick again for the victorious Sharks under 19 team last year and was the starting tighthead for the SA under 20s on their recent tour of South America.
Kyle Cooper is the third member of the Sharks under 19 front row to make the grade at national under 20 level. Short and squat, just like you want a hooker to be, the 107kg 20-year-old is a product of Glenwood Boys High, although he was born in Johannesburg and attended primary school in Port Elizabeth. Cooper was a teammate of Chadwick’s at under 16 level for Natal, but missed out on further age-group honours. His selection to the squad is based on some superb form for the Sharks under 19 team last year. Cooper also started for the SA under 20s against Uruguay in February.
There’s more to life than the front row, though – or so I’ve been told – and the fourth Sharks forward in the SA Under 20 squad is young Jan-Andre Marais, a big lock from Welkom who represented the Griffons at both under 13 and under 18 Craven Week level. Marais was yet another good win for the Sharks Academy recruiting team and played a fair bit of rugby for the Sharks under 19s in 2008. At 1.98m and 115kg, he’s certainly a pretty big youngster and since Joe Snyman was called up to join the Sharks on tour, Jandre has emerged as a key figure in the Sharks XV engine room this year. He even scored a try in the recent rout of the Bulldogs in East London.
There are some backs, too… Wynand Pienaar (not the bastard lovechild of Wynand Olivier and Ruan Pienaar as you may think!) was a schoolboy team mate of Marais’s, also having represented (and captained) the Griffons at just about every level imaginable. A flyhalf in his school days, the 95kg Pienaar played mostly at inside centre for the Sharks under 19s last year. He’s an attacking player with an accomplished boot and his hero and role model is a certain New Zealander by the name of Daniel Carter…
The final member of the sexvirate (it’s a word, go look it up) is fullback Faizel de Bruyn, yet another Lions age-group star to have slipped through the net in Johannesburg. Hailing from the Boland originally, the young de Bruin represented both Boland and the Golden Lions at Craven week level.
Best of luck to all these guys – hope to see you in the Black and White soon.
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